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Benefit: An Inmate Cannot Find Water or Dirt in His Prison Cell - How Can He Pray?

In the Name of Allāh, the Ever Merciful, the Bestower of Mercy

Question: If a prisoner is in his cell and cannot find water or dirt whilst the time for prayer is about to expire, what should he do?

Answer: If he cannot find water or get someone to bring him water, and he cannot find dirt, he should pray as he is. [However, he should] look towards the wall or to the carpets to see if he can find dust, if he finds dust then it is permissible for him to strike it with [the palm of] his hands one time to wipe his face and hands, if he cannot find any of that then he prays in the condition that he is in.

This is specifically if the prayer is one that cannot be joined with another prayer [i.e. if it is a prayer like Ẓuhr he can delay it to join it with ʿAṣr to spare more time to find water, dirt, sand, soil, earth etc.]

Shaykh Muḥammad ibn Hādī al-Madkhalī

al-ʿArabīc Source: ماذا يصنع الرجلُ إذا كان في سجن فلم يجد ماءً ولا ترابا وكاد
Translated by: Munīb al-Ṣumālī

Tags: Ṣalāh, Fatāwá, Muḥammad al-Madkhalī, prison

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